Change Your Physical World, Change Your Life (With a $26 DIY Giant Whiteboard Tutorial)

how to make your own giant whiteboard in about an hour

My ideal dayplanner would be someone following me around with a gigantic whiteboard–but sadly, that seems impractical. I’m enjoying the next best thing: a giant 4 foot by 8 foot whiteboard I made for my home.

This year I’ve been paying attention to the way my physical world affects my mood and my productivity. I’ve realized that my physical world affects me a lot more than I’d realized. (My home feels much more peaceful since I started applying the Pinterest rule of decorating.)

I’ve had my eye on raingutter bookshelves and giant whiteboards for a while now, and last week I decided to go for it.

I first read about raingutter bookshelves in The Read-Aloud Handbook, and loved the concept:  display books with their covers facing out, and kids will be more interested in reading because they can see the book covers.  They’re made from inexpensive plastic gutter material, and look like this:

DIY raingutter book shelves for homeschool office space DIY whiteboard

ohdeedoh via Pinterest

I used this tutorial, and the total cost was about $125 (for 3 14-foot long shelves; it would have been half that for shorter shelves).

The whiteboards were more challenging, because whiteboards are really expensive–unless you make your own. But I couldn’t find any tutorials that didn’t destroy your walls in the process of hanging it.  The directions at Cool Tools gave me hope that it could be done, and my husband came up with an ingenious way to hang it.

Here’s what you need to make your own giant whiteboard in about an hour:

  • 4 x 8 sheet of melamine tile wall panel (available pre-cut at our local Home Depot for $12.  This product is also known as “showerboard” or “tileboard.”)
  • 4 x 8 sheet of 1/4 plywood or OSB (4×8 pieces pre-cut plywood cost $20; 4×8 pre-cut pieces of OSB cost $6, so we went with OSB)
  • 1 tube of Liquid Nails adhesive
  • 1 1 x 4, 6 feet long, $3
  • hardware (see below)

First, make your whiteboard:

  1. attach 1x4 to whiteboard for homeschool office DIYCut the 1 x 4 lengthwise at a 45-degree angle with a table or circular saw.  (Our local Home Depot can do this for you–you may want to call ahead and ask if your store can, too.)
  2. Attach the short face of your cut 1 x 4 to the back of the OSB board with 4-6 1 1/4in drywall screws. (place 1 x 4 6in below the top side of the OSB as measured to the bottom of the short face and be sure it’s level)
  3. Use Liquid Nails to attach the melamine tile wall panel to the OSB/plywood backing according to package directions. Weigh it down with something heavy (we used our set of encyclopedias, plus our yearbook collection) and let it sit for at least a few hours.


Next, hang it up:

  1. how to hang DIY dry erase board on wall home school officeAttach the other half of the 1 x 4 to the wall approximately 6 inches below desired height (as measured from the top of the long face of 1 x 4, and again, be sure it’s level), using a combination of toggle bolts and 2″ or larger drywall/deck screws. (The board is heavy and you want to be sure it has adequate support.)
  2. Hang when dry by carefully lining up the angles of the 1x4s and dropping the whiteboard down into the holder you’ve attached to the wall.
  3. Make sure your board is secure, especially if kids will be using it!  (Our large piece of OSB is extremely heavy, and it’s not going anywhere.  But if I was concerned about it’s moving I would take the additional step of securing it directly to the wall.)

how to secure DIY whiteboard tutorial rain gutter bookshelves

I love how this method does very little damage to the wall–it only leaves a few more holes than hanging a picture does. And I still can’t believe it only cost $26!

Maintenance tips:

We’ve used Expo dry erase markers on our board, and they wipe off cleanly (with an old, clean sock)–except for the green. The green leaves faint tracks, which I’ve been removing with baby wipes and a hint of rubbing alcohol.  We also tried the washable dry erase markers, which I do not recommend because they don’t erase cleanly.

Pin It

<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Tip Junkie handmade projects" border="0"/></a>


Leave A Comment
  1. Cynthia says:

    What a great idea!
    I am also loving your school space, by the way. How lovely and quaint.
    I have to agree with you…the space around us affects so much. In fact, that reminds me…maybe I should be taking these precious moments to do something about that here at this house? 🙂

    Have a great week!

  2. sarah says:

    I had seen the rain gutter bookshelves before (I think it was your “pin” on Pinterest) but the white board? Very clever! Looks great! What a wonderful little learning nook you guys created!

  3. So excited to have found this how to! I am in the process of starting to home-preschool my toddlers and wanted a white board- this is the perfect solution! Can’t wait to get my husband on this project. It’s been pinned! Stopping by from the Tutorials and Tips Link Party

  4. Pickle-Lily says:

    i’ve never seen rain gutter bookshelf before – it’s brilliant!!! A little tip for cleaning whiteboards is anti bacterial hand gel it works a treat and I’ve cleaned hundreds! Thank-you for sharing.
    Jo x

  5. Liz says:

    first of all, i am totally crushing on the rain gutter book shelves as well.
    secondly, that is an ingenious way to hang anything heavy that tears up walls! i have to show this to my husband. thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Nicole @ Simple Organic says:

    Looks great! I had no idea you could make your own whiteboard like that. Love those shelves, too.

    Thanks for linking up, too!

  7. Lindsay says:

    Using liquid nails, why couldn’t you mount the 1×4 directly to the melamine board without the OSB? Wouldn’t that make it lighter and reduce the number of nails/screws needed?

    The guy at Lowe’s told me I should be able to just screw the melamine board right to the wall without any problems…

    • Anne says:

      Lindsay, you can definitely screw the melamine board straight to the wall. People do that all the time; it works just fine.

      If you screw the board straight to the wall though, it will warp pretty quickly. That’s the reason for using the plywood or OSB. Depending on what your purposes are, it might be worth it to skip the OSB/plywood and screw the board straight to the wall or mount the 1 x 4 directly to the melamine. But it you don’t want the board to warp, using the OSB or plywood will extend the life of your board.

      My board (which is attached to OSB) is still looking fantastic. I live in a humid climate, yet there are zero signs of warping so far. It’s attached to an OSB base.

      • Lindsay says:

        Will the warping damage the wall? I don’t own my residence, so I can screw things to the walls if I patch the holes, but major damage would be a big problem. If I, for example, also put nailed framing around the edges like a picture frame, driving them through the board into the wall, do you think that would help? Where/how does it warp?

        • Anne says:

          If the melamine warps it shouldn’t damage the walls. I’ve read of people putting framing around the melamine for appearance’s sake, but I’ve never heard that it helps with the warping. That doesn’t mean that it won’t, though.

          As to where/how it warps, the whole board gets wavy/bumpy because it’s so thin, especially in high-humidity climates. My gym has melamine boards screwed directly into the drywall, and they are all pretty seriously warped. If you care about appearances, you’d hate these boards. But they’re there to record workout stats, and they still work great for that purpose. So depending on what you’re trying to achieve with your project, a warped board may not be a big deal. Although personally, I’m glad mine aren’t all bendy!

          • Lindsay says:

            Hmm. I have a 99″ wall that’s the focal point of my living room, and my organizational style would be extremely well-served by an 8’x4′ whiteboard. I live in Indianapolis, so it’s neither crazy humid nor crazy dry, though it IS fairly humid. I guess if it gets too awful, I can replace the whole thing for $15, so it’s worth a try without mounting it first. I think it’s going to look AWESOME once I get it up there!

          • Lindsay says:

            You know, I just thought of something else. “Melamine” is also known as “shower board”. You’d think shower board should be able to stand up to humidity. What’s more humid than a shower?

  8. kimberly says:

    I made my own bulletin boards for with the1/2 inch pink foam insulation thingys from Home Depot. I cut them to the sizes I wanted, covered them with fabric duct taped to the backs and stretched tight. I then just nailed the boards at the top to the walls and viola!

  9. jenni says:

    As for hanging the board to the wall it can be done without nails or screws by using a product made by 3M – velcro strips that are for hanging pictures on the wall. They work very well and there are no holes and you can place multiple of them so the board doesn’t warp.

  10. Susan says:

    What a clever idea! Thanks for sharing it. Anyone know if you could paint the back of the showerboard with magnetic paint (maybe many coats) and turn it into a magnetic white board?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.